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Indian Catholics to launch campaign against terrorism, narcotics

CBCI laity council's move comes within a month of a Kerala bishop's controversial remarks on 'love and narcotic jihad'

Indian Catholics to launch campaign against terrorism, narcotics

Indian rights activists hold a protest in Bangalore on Dec. 1, 2020, against the decision of Bharatiya Janata Party-led state governments to enact laws against 'love jihad.' (Photo: AFP)

The laity council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) will launch a nationwide awareness campaign against terrorism and the use of narcotics on Oct. 1.

The Save the People campaign will see students and youths, religious, political organizations and sociocultural movements participate in a “conscientization process” over a period of three months, said V.C. Sebastian, the laity council secretary, in a press release issued on Sept. 24.

Programs through social media against narcotics and terrorism, seminars, discussions, family visits, and formation of local solidarity groups will be part of the campaign, the press release said.

Sebastian said the campaign “will rouse the general conscience against the glaring threats of narcotism and terrorism getting worse across the nation and making the common man increasingly worried."

The anxiety shared by certain political parties about the fast spread of a terrorist agenda to the higher education sector is to be viewed seriously, he said.

The CBCI is the apex decision-making body of the Indian Church. The 14 regions of its laity council, 174 Catholic dioceses, various churches and lay organizations will collaborate in the campaign, ensuring the involvement of different religious denominations, people’s representatives and sociocultural leaders.

Bishop Kallarangattu’s remarks were criticized by many including politicians, activists and academics as vitiating the peace and trust between Christians and Muslims

Sebastian said a Youth Action project involving the participation of youth movements and educational institutions against terrorist ideologies would also be implemented. There will also be oath taking against terrorism and the use of narcotics.

The announcement comes in the wake of the recent controversial claims by Catholic Bishop Joseph Kallarangattu of Pala Diocese in Kerala about the existence of “love jihad” and “narcotic jihad” to target young people belonging to Christianity and other non-Muslim faiths.

The prelate was addressing the laity at a church in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district on Sept. 10 about the importance of protecting their families, especially young women, who were being lured by "jihadis" and subjected to exploitation, forced religious conversion and terrorist activities.

He also spoke about “narcotic jihad” wherein youngsters were being lured and trapped through drugs by the "jihadis."

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Bishop Kallarangattu’s remarks were criticized by many including politicians, activists and academics as vitiating the peace and trust between Christians and Muslims, both minority religions in India.

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